Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Those pushpins, you wouldn't believe how small they are"

At the New Yorker, Richard Brody on the stop-motion animation of Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox production (subscriber only):
Anderson wanted the figurines to have "a believable sort of finish, a lifelike quality," according to Andy Gent, the puppet master. Although the largest of the figurines were only about eighteen inches tall, their fur was, indeed, fur (which, Gent said, came from "safe sources," suc as "food production"). They had been crafted for maximum pliability of expression: Mr. Fox's eyes were poseable, and his foam-latex face had a jointed framework that could register the slightest sneer or snarl or raised eyebrow. Moreover, the figurines had tailored clothing, made with fabric. (Anderson designed the clothes himself, having his own tailor send fabric samples. He has a suit made from the same corduroy as Mr. Fox's.) In closeup, not only are the buttons on Mr. Fox's white shirt visible; so is the stitching on the edge of the collar.

Molly Cooper, the film's co-producer, told me, "Wes wants the references to be from the real world. A desk actually has a coffee stain, piles of papers, things you'd have in a real-world setting." Standing before the set of the supermarket, which is filled with hundreds of miniature boxes and cans and bottles and jars, Anderson told Dawson, "Stores don't put bread in the refrigerator." Dawson joked, "Here they do," and Anderson responded, "I'm saying a serious thing. Maybe we shouldn't have bread in the refrigerator." Another set featured a miniature piano, whose keys could be depressed individually, so that, when a figurine played, the motions matched those of the real performance being heard on the soundtrack. The walls of one character's office were lined with tiny cards that Anderson had based on the scheduling board in the film's production office. On his computer, he'd shown me a still frame of that set and said, gleefully, "Those pushpins, you wouldn't believe how small they are."
Also (courtesy of Wendy): miniature city in The Hague reduces everything to a fraction of its original size! (And I wouldn't mind seeing Miniatürk, either...)

1 comment: